Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Remove hurdle to children's health care

Uninsured children who are legal Florida residents shouldn't have to wait five years to see a doctor. Legislators should remove roadblocks to the state's subsidized health insurance programs and allow low-income immigrant children immediate access. Anything less punishes law-abiding families and pushes them to seek care in emergency rooms, where taxpayers will foot the bill.

More than 2.1 million children are enrolled in Florida KidCare, which includes Medicaid and subsidized insurance programs, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration. Nearly 26,000 children could be helped by KidCare immediately if legislators took advantage of a change in federal law and adjusted Florida law to eliminate the five-year wait for children who were born outside the United States and are residing here legally.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, has been received favorably in committees. But its hardest challenge might be its cost. Florida would need to put up $20 million to match federal funds to cover the $69 million price tag. But that's matching money the state isn't drawing down now from Washington that could help make Florida's children healthier and take the burden off emergency care.

The Legislature should follow the lead of 26 states and the District of Columbia and eliminate the five-year waiting period for children's health insurance for legal immigrants.

Uninsured children who are legal Florida residents shouldn't have to wait five years to see a doctor. Legislators should remove roadblocks to the state's subsidized health insurance programs and allow low-income immigrant children immediate access. Anything less punishes law-abiding families and pushes them to seek care in emergency rooms, where taxpayers will foot the bill.

More than 2.1 million children are enrolled in Florida KidCare, which includes Medicaid and subsidized insurance programs, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration. Nearly 26,000 children could be helped by KidCare immediately if legislators took advantage of a change in federal law and adjusted Florida law to eliminate the five-year wait for children who were born outside the United States and are residing here legally.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, has been received favorably in committees. But its hardest challenge might be its cost. Florida would need to put up $20 million to match federal funds to cover the $69 million price tag. But that's matching money the state isn't drawing down now from Washington that could help make Florida's children healthier and take the burden off emergency care.

The Legislature should follow the lead of 26 states and the District of Columbia and eliminate the five-year waiting period for children's health insurance for legal immigrants.

Comments
Editorial: Look hard into Tampa Bay and Pinellas CareerSource CEO, and get to the bottom of the numbers and the money

Editorial: Look hard into Tampa Bay and Pinellas CareerSource CEO, and get to the bottom of the numbers and the money

Something is seriously amiss at Tampa Bay’s two CareerSource agencies, which receive millions in federal and state money to match unemployed workers with local employers. First, the agencies appear to be taking credit — and money — for job placements...
Published: 01/22/18

A Chicago Tribune editorial: Shut down this shutdown habit

"Shutting down the government of the United States of America should never ever be a bargaining chip for any issue. Period. It should be to governing as chemical warfare is to real warfare. It should be banned."— Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., addressing ...
Published: 01/22/18
Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Ignoring all available evidence that screen time and social media exposure can be harmful to kids, Facebook recently unveiled a new messaging app targeting children under 13. It’s yet another battlefront for parents who have to constantly combat the ...
Published: 01/21/18
Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

The good news on the transportation front is that Tampa Bay’s government and business leaders are working together like never before to connect the region’s largest cities, attractions and employment centers with a more robust mass transit system. Th...
Published: 01/20/18
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

The death last fall of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge revealed pervasive dangerous behavior within the school’s Greek system. Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died from alcohol poisoning after an off-campus party, and a...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: Confronting racial distrust in St. Petersburg, one conversation at a time

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s heavy presence in Midtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the community animosity it stirred have raised a familiar, troubling question: Can St. Petersburg’s racial divisions ever be reconciled?That big ideal ...
Published: 01/19/18
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: State’s warning shot should get attention of Hillsborough schools

The state Board of Education hopefully sent the message this week with its warning shot about the slow pace of the turnaround at Hillsborough County’s low-performing schools.The board criticized the school system for failing to replace administrators...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18